Business Analytics, What & Why.

In the era of Big Data, choosing a Business Analytics grad program seems great, especially in this year’s grad application at Fall. No matter what your undergraduate major is — business/economics/computer/statistics/art — everybody is talking about learning BA. 
There are many applicants in almost every program: University of Southern California, UT Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Institute of Technology, George Washington University, University of Rochester, and Southern Methodist University and etc..

If you are interested in the full list of BA programs provided by U.S. universities, guys could refer to the this website provided North Carolina State University.

I also jumped into this fierce battle as an undergraduate student majoring in Finance. I whipped myself to conduct a research about BA. And following is what I want to share with you.

What is the curriculum of Business Analytics?

Many dudes (including me) have no interest or patience in learning about details. Although every program has different Required Courses and Elective Courses, we could refine into a rough summary. So, below is my wrap-up.

Required Courses:

  • Statistics and Predictive Analysis: Managerial Statistics, Predictive Analytics, and Applied Time Series and etc..
  • Information Technology and Database: Data Visualization, Data Warehousing, Data Mining and etc..
  • Business: Introduction to Finance and Accounting, Project Management and etc..

As for Elective Courses, different schools have different emphases on different applications. But, forcing every student to choose Elective Courses seems a way to push us to design our career path (and that is great):

  • Marketing: Market Analytics, Customer Analytics, Social Media Analytics and etc..
  • Finance: Risk Analytics, Portfolio Investment and etc..
  • Supply-Chain: Supply-Chain Analytics and etc..
  • Health and Insurance: Health Analytics and etc..
  • Data Science: Machine Learning, Text Analytics and etc..
  • Others: Sports Analytics, Price & Revenue Analytics, Game Analytics and etc..

The first three tracks (if we could call enough elective courses as track) are provided by nearly every program. Other tracks depend on each program. In sum, some programs lean towards technology, such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Georgia Institute of Technology. Some programs lean towards business, such as University of Rochester, UT Austin and George Washington University. Some programs are more comprehensive, such as University of Southern California. The program provided by Southern Methodist University, a little special, seems designed to fit the needs of consulting and project management.

There is no good or bad standard for different programs. Whether a program is good for YOU depends on your own career aim.

Why do we pursue a Mater in Business Analytics?

This is a more difficult question. Since Business Analytics is a rather new field, there does not exist a fixed/focused area for BA grads. But, from the placement stats on every program’s official page, we could get a glance into possible careers for BA grads:

  • Marketing Career
  • Finance Career
  • Consulting Career
  • IT Career
  • Others, such as Game and Movie

And, the majority of grads choose Marketing Career or Consulting Career as their after graduating from BA.

So, lets take a simple analysis about these careers:

  • Marketing: BA grads will face a competition with Marketing grads; I bet on the victory of BA grads. Data will and is playing a key role in the ads market. BA grads with both data knowledge and business knowledge seems to have a little bit of advantage.
  • Consulting: It is a big-data era. A lot of consulting firms are also trying to make them look more tech. Business decision should base on data. But, you know, consulting firms also care about whether your school is their target school or whether your school has a good rank.
  • Finance: This is a complex topic. I even had a small argument with a friend who is studying Finance Engineering. He thought FE is far more tech than BA and BA grads have no opportunity in Finance field. Well, although my undergraduate major is Finance, I know little about FE. But, I did learn some BA grads step into Finance field from each program’s official page. Is there any professional or BA grad who know both of them?
  • IT: This is another complex topic. If BA grads want to be data scientist, BA guys will face the competition from Data Science grads, Computer Science grads and even some Statistics grads. And, several friends of mine all hold the view that it is hard for BA grads to hit a data scientist career. But, just the same as the Finance career, I did learn that some BA grads step into this field from each program’s official page. Is there another professional or BA grads who could share some information about this?

Business Analytics is a rather new field. There are many uncertainties and opportunities. Some people think BA is meaningless. Others believe it is the future.

Choosing a Master Degree is critical for your career path. I try to analyze this new field from the perspective of a student. And I hope this article could help guys who are interested or studying in this field.